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November 26, 2008

 

Composer Inon Zur & Stuart Chatwood
The Sands of Duality

 

 

Inon Zur: Biography


Graduated from the Music Academy of Tel Aviv

Studied film music at the Dick Grove School of Music and at UCLA.

Lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Official Web Site
 

Composition Credits (Games)

Prince of Persia
Fallout 3
Crysis
EverQuest II
Lineage II
Prince of Persia: Two Thrones
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Men of Valor
Shadow Ops: Red Mercury
SOCOM II: U.S. Navy Seals
Icewind Dale II


 

Composition Credits
(Film)

Au Pair (Fox Family)
Au Pair II (Fox Family)
St. Patrick: The Irish Legend (Fox Family)
Rusty: The Great Rescue (Twentieth Century Fox)
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (Twentieth Century Fox)


 

Stuart Chatwood: Biography


Born: October 22, 1969 - Fleetwood, Lancashire, England

Played bass guitar and keyboards with the band, The Tea Party.

Official Web Site
 

Composition Credits (Games)

Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia: Warrior Within
Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones
Battles of Prince of Persia
Prince of Persia: Revelations
Prince of Persia Rival Swords
Prince of Persia: The Fallen King
NHL 2002
Road Rash 3D


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Composers Inon Zur and Stuart Chatwood

"The vision of the developers was that we wouldn’t really be “collaborating” to compose one score, but instead writing 2 different scores and that the differences between those scores will support this deep duality that is central to the new game. I think it is a very interesting creative idea,...- Inon Zur


The two names behind the musical voice of the PRINCE OF PERSIA game franchise come together to score the new, next-gen console version of the game which is set to hit store-shelves in just a few days.  Both INON ZUR and STUART CHATWOOD share about their histories in the franchise, the unique challenges provided by this iteration of the game, and their process for working together.

  3 Exclusive tracks from PRINCE OF PERSIA
 

Prince of Persia by Inon Zur and Stuart Chatwood

PRINCE OF PERSIA  available  December 2, 2008

Composer INON ZUR in his studio

Composer INON ZUR in his studio

 
   

CC: You two have both been a part of the Prince of Persia franchise for sometime.  How have your earlier involvement and experiences with this world and characters influenced your writing for this project?

Inon Zur: It is very important to be immersed in the whole world of PRINCE OF PERSIA, to know the history and to evolve with it. It gives the music the same depth as the rest of the components of the game. We integrated some previous themes to connect the player with the previous games, and it helps evoke the feeling of “something new is emerging from something that we already know.”

Stuart Chatwood: The prep work I did prior to the first games played a great role with regards to my workflow and writing process on this title. When I was approached to score the first PRINCE OF PERSIA: SANDS OF TIME, I went about expanding my world music CD Library that I had been building up over the prior years. I am a big believer in information absorption on a subconscious level, so in addition to my CD collection, I often found my radio fixed to Radio Darvish on the Internet. When I worked on this title about 6 years ago, a big issue was the lack of good world music sample libraries, so I went about augmenting these with my own sampled instruments. From a character perspective, being around the Prince all these years has helped me with context, and how individual cues fit into the grand scheme of the franchise.

CC: Stuart, you've also worked on PRINCE OF PERSIA scores on other platforms (Nintendo DS and PSP)   Do you try to bring over some of the more subtle ideas established in those games to this game?

Stuart Chatwood: Most of these games involve implementation of the original music form the console titles, so most often a bit rate reduced version of the original game soundtrack is repurposed for the handheld versions. In addition to this, midi translations of my cues are utilized.

CC: This PRINCE OF PERSIA is the first developed for a next-gen console (Xbox 360, PS3), how have you both been able to musically take advantage of the increased "headroom" these systems provide?

Inon Zur: The music system has dramatically changed and evolved, based on the new technological tools that we now have. This is the first time we utilize what we call a “platforming” system – a musical cue that has 5 levels of variations – from very slow and ambient to full-on battle. The system is able to contain all 5 and switch seamlessly between them based on what’s happening in the game. This system can only be handled by the new platforms, and the PRINCE OF PERSIA developers took full advantage of it.


Stuart Chatwood: From a composer's standpoint, there is now more music than ever, with GOD OF WAR being the best example of that. From a technical perspective, there is much more freedom for the audio producer to do real time mixing, cross fading, reverberation, spatial placement with regards to the implementation of the music cues. In the main areas of the game, there are cues involving five levels of intensity, and not relying on "Stingers" or "Hits" as the programmers have a bit more control over cross fading.

CC: The visual concept for this iteration of PRINCE OF PERSIA is quite beautiful and unique from just about any other game out there.  How did this affect your composition style?

Inon Zur: It is very inspirational, it combines the power of “above reality” and “fairytale-ish” concept with amazingly realistic and sharp visuals. The so called “richer than life” visuals are very demanding from the sound, and we tried very hard to step up to the challenge. The outcome I think can be called “the next level of composition” for the PRINCE OF PERSIA world.

Stuart Chatwood: There is definitely a lush aspect to this game. The artwork is truly inspiring, and without a doubt, it found its way into lush arrangements. The Prince himself, is strong and determined, but has lightness on his feet, and at times, vulnerabilities, so you'll find the cues reflecting this, whereas they feature strong elements, but we don't pound the listener with relentless "Wagner-ial" power.

CC: Describe your collaborative writing process for this game.

Inon Zur: Actually, we wrote our scores separately. The vision of the developers was that we wouldn’t really be “collaborating” to compose one score, but instead writing 2 different scores and that the differences between those scores will support this deep duality that is central to the new game. I think it is a very interesting creative idea, and I’m quite sure that it has a very strong impact on the overall sound in the game.

Stuart Chatwood: I would describe our process on this game as a parallel collaboration as opposed to a serial one, where as we were writing independently, but we were aware of each others cues, with cohesion of the soundtrack being the goal. For example, we went with one of Inon's themes for the title track, so that set a mood, and a melodic sensibility for a number of cues. On the prior titles, this differed a bit where we actually had some cue that started of with my music and ended with Inon's.

CC: What were some of the unique composing challenges this game brought to you?

Inon Zur: For me, it was to find the right balance between an orchestral traditional music and the Middle Eastern flavor. Again, like many other aspects, this notion also supports firmly the whole duality concept behind this game.

Stuart Chatwood: One notable change for me was that this was the first game that didn't feature Simon Pressey in the audio department, who switched companies early on in the production cycle. Simon had a great insight into the lineage of the game, and had a grand view of things having been exposed to a lot of music from other cultures in his travels. We built a new team around Bénédicte Ouimet, Simon Landry, and Mohamed Rabia. All of them brought a great amount of new energy, diverse influences and a modern music vocabulary to the game, and the net results were great.

CC: Inon, were you working on this project simultaneous to FALLOUT 3?  If so, what's your method of keeping one project from "leaking" over into another?

Inon Zur: Interesting question. In fact, I never try to keep one game away from the other, because this is impossible. Rather, I let each score fertilize the other and I trust the individual hand writing of each game to be strong enough to prevent real “leakage.” I believe in being immersed in a story while composing, so I feel I’m fully protected from writing “Megaton” for a Persian city, for example. On the flip side, some components that I used in each game have proven very effective in the other when using them properly in the right context, so I use this multi-project writing as an empowering tool and not one of conflict.

CC: Can you compare and contrast the actual music for this PRINCE OF PERSIA versus previous games: Sands of Time, Warrior Within, The Two Thrones?

Inon Zur: I don’t think there is really a specific comparison or contrast; what we have is more an evolution of the ideas. However, I must say that this PRINCE OF PERSIA is the most romantic and story-driven of them all, almost like Arabian Nights in the power of the story. No doubt the story influenced the score, and put it on a more “larger-than-life” concept rather then trying to be realistic.

Stuart Chatwood: Sands of Time was quite dreamful, light, fantasy based, which included a story line that involved Indian characters, which enabled me to expand beyond the Persian musical palette. While this is my favorite soundtrack, it doesn't always fit with the story line. With the second game, the characters went their darkest, and Ubisoft went with a heavy sounding score that appeared to many to be at odds with the franchise. Things got back on track with The Two Thrones, and things have moved forward with this new score, pulling references from Sands of Time and The Two Thrones.

CC: Inon and Stuart - if each had only one word to describe the music for PRINCE OF PERSIA, what would that be?

Inon Zur: 2 words – Imagination empowered.

Stuart Chatwood: One word...hmmm...how about two...Lush Power. Sounds like a 70's rock band...hehe. Maybe Exotic Grandiosity...that's better.

CC: Do you each still have some PRINCE OF PERSIA music left in the tank for more of these games should they be developed?

Inon Zur: Always!

Stuart Chatwood: I have a ton of music in the tank. After working on eight different editions of the game, I think I am passively always writing things for the franchise, so yes, the tank is full, in fact the cup, err...tank "overflowith".

 



 

*Special thanks to Greg O'Connor Read at Top Dollar PR
 

More Interviews

   

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Mark Griskey (2010)
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Jamie Christopherson (2010)
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Clinton Shorter (2009)
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John Ottman (2008)
Inon Zur/ Stuart Chatwood (2008)
Jesse Harlin (2008)
Jeff Beal (2008)


 

Miho Nomura (2008)
Mark Griskey (2008)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2008)
Jeff Rona (2008)
Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard (2008)
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James Dooley (2007)
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Garry Schyman (2007)
David Robidoux (2007)
Scott Glasgow (2007)
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Howard Shore (2006)
Trevor Rabin  (2006)
John Debney
Greg Edmonson
Christopher Lennertz (2003)
Erik Lundborg
Ron Jones
Edward Shearmur
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Thad Spencer
Don Davis (2001)
Hans Zimmer
Conrad Pope
Michael Giacchino
Don Davis (1999)
Jeff Rona (1999)

 

   


   

 

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